Friday, April 15, 2011


A random post featuring some of the things swirling around in my head.

My children are so cute I want to freeze them.  A twelve year old boy, a ten year old girl and two six-year-olds on the cusp of turning seven is just the absolute perfect combination for me right now.  Personalities are fully formed but no one is taller than me yet.  (Although Jake is just a few weeks and maybe a Grandslam Breakfast away from looking down upon me.  Luckily I will outweigh him for decades!)

I enjoy my kids so much more than I did just a few years ago.  They can read!  They can tie!  They can wipe!  They are smart, funny and delightful.  Sam thanks me after every meal in Spanish.  Gracias, Mami for the delicious frozen waffle.  I am charmed on a daily basis.

I'm so glad when Daddy comes home.  Brad flies in tonight after a week in Philly and NJ.  He drove by our old house and took photos.  He visited some old friends.  He even had a quick trim by his beloved Donna at Personal Style.  (A fact which made me sooo envious, I actually dreamed I was back at the David Witchell salon in Newtown!  Oh, good hair days, why do you torment and elude me?)

I was tempted to fly back with him and tour our old stomping grounds together.  But, the truth is, I am just not ready.  I still miss it there a lot.  As much as I love the sunshine and having a pool right out the back door, I left a big piece of my heart on the Eastern seaboard.  I need a little more time to get over it.

I love having Brad in town.  I love having him work from home.  We've switched roles a little.  Now I'm the one who is gone all day and he's the one waiting for the cable guy.  He loads the laundry and turns off the CrockPot.  We go out to lunch and remember what life was like those first eight years we had together when it was just the two of us.  We've still got it.

We are family.  I got all my sisters with me!  Last month, Marta and Benji came to town for two glorious weeks.  It was simply the best.  I dragged her along on all our crazy adventures and she was, as always, a great sport.  How fun to watch my baby sister as a mother.  I learned from her everyday!

I was so sad to see Min go...but now, guess what?!  Two more sisters are driving down sans hubbies and bringing along their (yes, count 'em) SEVEN little girls for some fun-in-the-sun next week!  Eighteen extra ovaries, people.  Don't you wish you could be a fly on the wall!?  I cannot wait.

And some things you just can't blog about...  The biggest change going in my life right now is my church assignment.  Getting a new calling is kind of like being a new mom.  At first, everyone says nice things and hugs you and tells you what a great job you will do...and then THEY LEAVE YOU ALONE WITH THE BABY.  And you just have to do it.

I'm still at the stage where I don't know what I don't know.  I'm trying to study up real quick.  I am loving the excuse to make lots of new friends, to do lots of one-on-one visiting.  It's a very old-fashioned, non-digital kind of job which I find energizing and enjoyable.  I'm doing a lot of listening and I'm learning a lot, but it's not stuff I want to post about.  Just trust me, after a short time rubbing shoulders with these women, I will be a better person.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Gab Squad: Where Are They Now?

They made you laugh.  They made you cry.  They were in your living room on an almost-daily basis. 

Time to check in with the old gang and see what they're up to now...

You loved him as Shakey, the crazy third grader with a penchant for danger and animal noises.

These days he passes the sacrament at church, spends time at 6th grade Science Camp, and plays clarinet in the school band.

Remember little Lukechop?  You couldn't resist his devilish grin.

Of course, now the grin is missing a few pearly whites, but Mr. Luke is happiest when found at the zoo, on the tennis court or in front of the computer screen.

And who could forget Wedgiesaurus?
These days he can be found roaring at the top of his lungs in the pool and on the playground.  Don't mess with him until he's had his daily bowl of GoLean.

Super-cute Squeege was the blond bombshell who could make her three brothers cry.
Now that she's hit double digits, Em is the beauty behind the piano.  
The one with a killer throwing arm.

Stay tuned for next season...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ready, Set, Go

My race is tomorrow!  I am so excited I can hardly sit still.  I know it is going to be hard, but I'm just ready to do it and get it done.  Can't wait for the endorphins and adrenaline and all the fun with my crazy relay team.
Will be wearing this headlamp (and an equally dorky expression, no doubt)  for the midnight run.

This Sunday I started training for a different kind of run.  I was asked to be the president of the Relief Society at church.  Basically a full-time job.

Like running a Ragnar, being an RS President is not something I EVER thought I'd do.  But here I am.  At the starting line.  Hoping my muscles are strong enough.  Nervous and excited.  Ready to have fun with my new team.

The blog will undoubtedly suffer...but I promise to post along the way...

Wish me luck!!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ninja Stars and Valentines

Yes, there is a sixth-grade boy in the house.
That means Nerf bullets on the stairs and airsoft gun pellets in the vacuum cleaner bag.  Ritz crackers ingested an entire sleeve at a time.  Mythbusters on TV.
A lifetime ago, I was a sixth grade teacher.  I remember being absolutely horrified about the lack of hygiene so apparent in 12 year old boys.  Helping a post-recess student with improper fractions, I would think, Does this kid ever shower?  Change his socks? Use toothpaste? 
My self-righteous little heart would wonder, Where on earth was his mother?
And, of course, now I know.  At that very moment, his mother was probably at Target buying Right Guard, Odor Eaters and Colgate in bulk and placing them strategically throughout the house.  His mother was bleaching socks and tee-shirts as fast as her little spin cycle could churn.  His mother was sacrificing new living room furniture to pay for braces.  She was fishing an orthodontic appliance out of the trash.
Now I have learned that boys this age are just pre-programmed to look like they're homeless.  For every ratty, raggy tee and grimy hoodie, there are three crisp, striped Rugby shirts in the closet.  With the tags still on.
I would like to travel back 15 years and tell the smug, childless me that actually those sixth-grade mothers weren't too poor or lazy to buy their boys new shoes.  In fact, they probably did spring for brand-new Nikes to replace the still-pretty-new Adidas which had been "custom air conditioned" during Social Studies.  And probably two days after the new shoes were purchased, one accidentally "fell out of the car" on the way home from a ski trip.
Because, once again, mothering is humbling the heck outta me.  One stinky sock at a time.
P.S.  Anyone seen a black Nike Reax?  Size 5 1/2?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Progress Report

A little update on things around here:

Pool's cool...
Backyard construction is going so fast that this photo is already outdated.  Concrete has now been poured and the waterfall is halfway completed.  Every day I look out my window and smile at the cute guys digging in the dirt...

(cute girls, too!)

Running rocks...

I am just weeks away from the Big Race and I really do love training.  I'll admit to pining for major body changes immediately--shrinking so fast my clothes would just fall off or maybe waking up with naturally curly hair or something equally awesome.  But, of course, I'm still just me.  Only a lot more sore.  This morning I actually ran 8 miles.  And the word of the day is ibuprofen.

Adolescence Happens...

Jake and Em are both showing signs.  Emotional more than physical.  Lots of mood swings and hating clothes I pick out for them.  Each of them got a puberty book for Christmas and they have devoured them.
Just the other night, I went in to kiss Em goodnight.  Brad was reading to her and she had chosen her new "Girls' Book" for a bedtime story. 
Knowing that Brad would rather walk through fire than the CVS feminine aisle, I gave him a raised eyebrow.  "What?" he grinned.  "We're just learning how to improve our body image."

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chinese Laundry

Last week, while Brad was out of town, the kids and I painted the laundry room. All by ourselves.  Big accomplishment, people. 

The color is "Haystack" by Martha Stewart and isn't it cheerful?  I love it.  Originally I wanted blue, but I decided doing laundry makes me blue enough.  I need sunshine while I sort.
Anyway, while I painted I listened to this...
Such a fascinating memoir.  Chua is a Chinese-American mom who has chosen to raise her daughters in the Chinese tradition.  As a result they are straight-A students who play concertos at Carnegie Hall.  The author is honest and some of her confessions are shocking. 

Listening, I felt like a really great mom.  Except for the chapters that made me feel like a really lazy American mom.  I think this will be my bookclub pick, a real conversation-starter.

Which reminds me, this month our bookclub read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.  Coincidentally, also a novel about a Chinese-American family.  This one is set in Seattle during WWII.  A sweet love story with a happy ending!  I liked it.

And now, back to the laundry room...
(If you look close you'll see Jake's snow clothes.  He and Brad went sledding in the mountains today with the church youth.  Also notice Em's swimsuit.  She and the twins stayed here and swam in the hot tub, then ran around in flip flops.  How fabulous is January in the Valley of the Sun?  Please remind me in July.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Big Day

Saturday was a very sad day in the state of Arizona.  
So, it seems slightly inappropriate to post about all the fun we had that day.

And it seems wildly inappropriate that the fun was mostly gun related...

marshmallow gun, that is.

Brad made kits for all the boys and helped them with assembly.

I supplied the ammo.

January is the perfect month for an outdoor party around these parts.

The kids had target practice and played capture-the-flag until the sun went down.

Jake has made so many great new friends here, it was a delight to gather them all together.  They are good, good boys.  Respectful and fun and active and goofy.

We weren't just celebrating Jake's 12th birthday.  It was a day to celebrate the long strides he's made and the buddies who are helping him make them.

I've been so sad learning more about the tragedies in Tucson, but I'm also sad when I hear commentators blaming the state of Arizona and calling it a hate-filled place.

Because we have found it warm and welcoming and full of wonderful people.

Happy wishes to my two birthday boys!  I love you.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Best of Twenty-ten

Don't you just love reading end of the year top ten lists?  Best movies, books, songs, news stories, inventions. Always makes me feel like I'm watching history unfold.  My own personal list isn't full of anything new or shocking, but these are ten discoveries that have made my year a little happier...

01.  audiobooks
I don't know how I'd ever work out, fold laundry, or get through all my other zillions of mind-numbing momtasks without audible entertainment.  And let's face it, once the twins started all-day school, the house was just WAY too quiet.  My listening library is a life saver.

02.  cerave skin care
Sara Vee?  Saravay?  Karavie?   I'm not sure how to say it, but I love this stuff.  It's cheap.  It's gentle.  It's recommended by my dermatologist.  Hey, I'm 40 now.  My skin needs all the help it can get.

03.  crossword love

Call me nerd if you must, but crosswords are my new favorite brain workout.  USA Today puzzles are the best, in my opinion.  And, if your husband travels a lot, he can bring them to you from hotel rooms around the country.  Sweet.

04.  my iphone
Yeah.  The whole smartphone revolution...I get it now.  

05.  friday night lights

Brad and I are addicted.  It's enough "All My Children" for me and plenty of "Sports Center" for him.  He doesn't seem to mind that I have a teeny crush on Coach Taylor.  Maybe because he thinks Tami is pretty cute.  Thank you, Netflix.

06.  charming charlie

I didn't know such a store existed til we moved West.  Can you say "candy store for grown women"!?  Cheap and non-fattening.  Also known to cure PMS.

07.  honey + licorice

These got me through my last East Coast winter.  (And it was a doozy...)  Sadly, I have not been able to find them anywhere since we moved.  I will keep scouring drugstore shelves, though, because my pocketbook is lonesome for their crinkly-wrapped goodness.

08.  shower power
Tilex Fresh Shower.  You know the kind you spray and leave?  And your brand-new, beautifully tiled shower stays streak- and mildew-free?  I love housekeeping when it's this simple.

09.  digital trainer

I've been using  MapMyRun  to help me stay motivated this month.  Technology is just so great.  With the help of #1 and #4, this little app is digitally kicking my trash.

10.  babysitters in da howse

The single greatest discovery of 2010 is the fact that my kids can take care of themselves for a few hours while Brad and I catch a movie or grab a bite.  In other words, I am saving so much money, I can head to Charming Charlie on a regular basis.  And I can go child-free!  Happy New Year to me.

What's on your Top Ten?
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